The Sports Xchange
KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Martin Truex Jr. bookended the second round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his seventh win of the season Sunday, Oct. 22, in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Kurt Busch finished second, Ryan Blaney was third, Chase Elliott fourth, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea fired a 7-under 65 on Sunday to win the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship for her first title since the 2009 U.S. Women's Open. Playing at the Miramar Resort and Country Club, the 31-year-old Ji won by six strokes over former world No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand. Ji, who had a six-stroke lead heading into the final round, carded seven birdies in her bogey-free round to finish at 17-under 271. Ko also closed with a 65.
JEJU, South Korea — American Justin Thomas birdied the second playoff hole to outlast Australian Marc Leishman on Sunday and claim the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Thomas, the reigning FedExCup champion, and Leishman recorded 9-under 279 totals during the first PGA Tour event held in South Korea. Thomas shot a final-round 72 while Leishman carded a 2-under 70.
HOUSTON—Evan Gattis and Jose Altuve belted solo home runs and the Houston Astros, laughingstocks throughout the majors following their relocation from the National League, claimed their first American League pennant with a 4-0 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday night, Oct. 21, in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park.
MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves in a nail-biting 100-97 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night, OCt. 20. Jimmy Butler added 13 points for Minnesota, which overcame 26 turnovers and was just 7 of 22 from 3-point territory. Jamal Crawford provided the big closing flurry that made him so attractive as a free agent for the Timberwolves with 17 points, all in the fourth quarter.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba—The Winnipeg Jets shook off the disappointment of having a goal waved off for goaltender interference and kept their focus to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Friday night, Oct. 20, at Bell MTS Place. Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored the winner with less than seven minutes to play in the third period, finishing off a saucer pass from left winger Kyle Connor and deking Devan Dubnyk from in close. His first goal of the season was also the 200th of Wheeler's career.
HOUSTON—Justin Verlander continued his masterful pitching in elimination games and the Houston Astros turned a breakthrough fifth inning into a 7-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night, Oct. 20, at Minute Maid Park in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Verlander (2-0) twirled seven shutout innings to help carry the Astros into a decisive Game 7 at home on Saturday night. He allowed five hits and issued one walk while recording eight strikeouts, extending his streak of consecutive scoreless innings in elimination games to 24.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr did get fined by the NFL, but not for the offense some expected. Barr drew considerable attention for the hit he put on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last Sunday, a blow that broke Rodgers' collarbone, causing him to be placed on injured reserve Friday. Apparently the NFL had no problem with that hit, however, because Barr was not fined for that. Rather Barr was fined $9,115 for head-butting Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, according to reports from multiple media outlets Friday.
The Green Bay Packers placed quarterback Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Friday, one day after he underwent surgery to repair his broken right collarbone. Rodgers was injured in the first quarter of last Sunday's 23-10 loss at Minnesota after taking a hard hit from Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. Though the Packers placed Rodgers on IR, they still could bring him back after eight weeks and give him a chance to return for the Week 15 game at Carolina on Dec. 17.
DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers will hire Ron Gardenhire to manage the club through what is expected to be a rebuilding phase. Multiple outlets reported late Thursday, Oct. 19, that Gardenhire will replace Brad Ausmus, whom the team chose not to retain when his contract expired at the end of the season. Terms of Gardenhire's contract were unknown. He also interviewed for the Boston Red Sox's vacant managerial job. Gardenhire, 59, comes with plenty of experience in the American League Central Division. He managed the Minnesota Twins for 13 seasons from 2002-14.